The only way to truly confirm a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease is through an autopsy, and researchers have been working on ways to image the neurodegenerative disease before it’s too late. A few groups are forging ahead to image tau—a protein whose clusters in neurons are associated with Alzheimer’s—in living humans using tracer molecules and positron emission tomography (PET). Data from one such molecule, imaged in six adults, were reported today (September 18) in Neuron.
“I think this is really fine work,” said William Jagust, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, who was not involved in the study. “The images look good.”
The research team, led by Makoto Higuchi at the National Institute of Radiological Sciences in Japan, also showed that this particular tau label can be used to image another so-called tauopathy, corticobasal syndrome. “That’s interesting because [tauopathies] are diseases where there’s a real need for a molecule to follow the pathology,” Jagust told The Scientist….